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Spelling Rules Refresher

Spelling Rules Refresher.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

There, Their, They're

These pronouns can be tricky to use in writing and in speech. These words all sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Therefore, they are called homophones.

1. Use "there" to express location (adverb) or to begin a sentence (pronoun). 


                     Is anyone sitting over there near the door?
                     We ran from there to the end of the street when the dog got loose.
                     There are too many people in this movie theater.

2. Use "their" (possessive pronoun) when speaking of the possessions or belongings of two or more people.


              Trisha and Alice changed their work schedules to take Zumba on Monday night.
                                               possessions or belongings = work schedules

3. Use "they're" as a contraction for the phrase "they are." The indefinite pronoun 'they' refers to a pair or group of people while "are" is a form of the irregular verb 'be' which is used to form an auxiliary verb or helping verb.


             Tommie and Kenyon said they're ready to go home.
             Tommie and Kenyon said they are ready to go home. 

**Note:   Do not use contractions in formal or professional writing, such as essays or reports.

Suggested Online Writing Class:     Spelling Rules Redux

What had happened was...

For some reason, people use 'had' excessively and unnecessarily when forming past tense verbs.
The colloquial phrase, "See, what had happened was..." is often used in urban entertainment as a joke or comedic play with standard English.
However, this seems to have caused widespread, non-standard grammatical formations of past participle verbs.

Past Perfect Tense 
1.   "When you had called in your order, you switched the salad for the soup." 
Simple Past Tense 
 2.  "When you called in your order, you switched the salad for the soup." 

The second sentence --simple past tense-- is more concise. Also, the verb tenses are  parallel.
Meaning, the verbs called and switched are both written in simple past tense in the second sentence. This is preferred.

When to use Past Perfect tense (had):
Use the past perfect tense when you are describing two actions that happened in the past where one occurred before the other.
My husband had finished his workout by the time I arrived home from work.
The first verb had finished is written in the past perfect. The second verb arrived is written in the simple past tense.

Action Step:  Drop the unnecessary 'had' before the verb and use simple past tense for direct, concise language use.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Theyself, Theirself, Theirselves

Good people, Never, ever say or write "theyself"!

I heard Steve Harvey say this on television.

"Theirself, hisself, theirselves" are all equally unacceptable!

CORRECTION: Use "themselves" only when speaking of a group of people, when the action is reflexive.

EXAMPLE: The teenagers drove 'themselves' to the mall.

RATIONALE:  (Source:  freedictionary.com)

pron. Chiefly Southern & South Midland U.S.

"Speakers of some vernacular American dialects, particularly in the South, may use the possessive reflexive form hisself instead of himself (as in He cut hisself shaving) and theirselves or theirself for themselves (as in They found theirselves alone). These forms reflect the tendency of speakers of vernacular dialects to regularize irregular patterns found in the corresponding standard variety."

Listen to the Audio

"Library" vs. "Liberry"

If I hear the word "liberry" one mo' gin - (one more time) - I will scream!

Fortunately, this is a simple pronunciation error.

It's "library" (Lie - brair -ee). 

Say the first and second "R" good people!

Listen to the Audio

"Mine" not "Mines"

Never, ever say 'mines'! Stop this madness good people!

I have heard professional educators with doctorates abuse this possessive pronoun by adding an '-s' to the end of the word.

I have no clue where they attended university, but this is a language abomination that must end!